ScentXplore attendees voted through a survey and decided the finalists and WINNERS of the 1st ScentXplore People’s Choice Niche Fragrance Awards.
- Amouage (UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE – FRANKINCENSE SITE IN OMAN)
- Kierin NYC (“CLEAN & CONSCIOUS” PROGRAM)
- Parfums de Marly (“REFOREST’ACTION” – 7,738 TREES PLANTED IN BRAZIL IN 2021)
Sustainability is undeniably one of the main topics of discussion nowadays. Clean, safe and cruelty-free are some of the key words. Species endangerment and waste management even more so. Environmental awareness has been growing over the years and consumers demand that suppliers take action. Of course, that extends to perfumery.
We all know that niche perfumery, in particular, tends to make more use of precious, natural ingredients, as opposed to mainstream perfumery. And that comes with responsibility. Perhaps the most notable examples of ingredients that are endangered, and found in many amazing niche fragrances, are oud and sandalwood. There are ways to make their harvesting sustainable. Niche brands are more likely to oversee the whole chain as well, and sometimes have social programs in place, especially in developing countries. Some of them have a close relationship with growers. In one way or another, ethics and sustainability are policies of all our participating brands.
ScentXplore would like to honor and award those who excel in these topics.
Criteria: Only brands who have at least one independent certification and/or participate in a solid project in regards to sustainability are eligible for this award.
Brand Concept & Portfolio
Originality. Focus on the scent. High quality. Creativity. Exclusivity. Those are terms frequently used to differentiate niche perfumery from mainstream perfumery. In order to be original, niche brands avoid using focus groups, following trends or creating fragrances solely based on cost effectiveness. They are concept driven, and not afraid to tackle unusual themes and notes. Mainstream clothing brands are not necessarily passionate about fragrances.
Niche brands focus on the scent itself. They differentiate themselves by offering fragrances with the finest and rarest ingredients, which sometimes come from very specific places, not easily sourced.
Niche brands are all about high quality. Instead of appealing to marketing tools to convince the largest possible audience to buy their fragrances, niche brands stand out for taking inspiration from art, history, nature, places and memories. They are more creative. And by working on a smaller scale, with limited points of sales and typically higher prices, niche brands end up being more exclusive and are associated with sophistication and luxury.
ScentXplore would like to honor our participating brands which offer a well formulated and executed concept along with a portfolio that shows a great range of genres and versatility within their creations.
Criteria: For this category, only brands with a minimum of 6 fragrances are eligible.
One of the beauties of niche perfumery is the chance to interact directly with the brands. Sometimes with the perfumer, the artistic nose, or even the owner. Although this could be a reality up to the mid 1900s, the massification of the perfume industry made this impracticable. Speaking with a perfumer, until recently, was inconceivable. An average consumer could eventually have the opportunity to participate in a focus group, but their input would still be a drop in the ocean. One could know someone working for a fragrance house, but that someone would probably have limited influence on the creation of a perfume.
Of course, the approachability of niche brands is only possible due to smaller production batches and a tighter sales chain. They don’t need the “approval” of the general public. As such, niche brands are more likely to listen to consumers and get straight feedback from them in real time if that’s what they want. It’s all more democratic, with a better understanding of the consumers’ needs.
ScentXplore would like to honor niche brands which excel in approachability and offer consumers a certain level of deeper connection, accessibility and inclusiveness – the chance to be part of the process.
Criteria: For this category, all our participating brands are eligible.
Rising Star Perfumer
Aaron Terence Hughes
Up until the massification of perfumery, which began in the late 70s, perfumers were mysterious and secretive, working in the shadows. They were so scarce that few people actually knew a perfumer. They used to compose a much smaller number of fragrances. A single fragrance could take up to 5 years to be finished. Perfumers were more hands-on and freer to exercise their creativity with their own palette. By the 90s, quantity and variety became more important than quality and complexity.
Not able to launch original fragrances to fulfill the constant demand for novelty, fashion designer brands started to launch variations, and a sea of flankers flooded the market. The vast majority of perfumers were now working for fragrance houses, also known as oil houses. Very few designers kept in-house perfumers. To cope with the pressure, seasoned perfumers began to share their tasks with a team of junior perfumers and lab assistants. His or her role was diluted. But the boom of niche perfumery at the turn of the new millennium brought back the role of a traditional perfumer. Rather than reverse-engineering their knowledge and talent to comply with a briefing, perfumers now have more freedom to create. Most of them receive a broader, concept-oriented briefing, where they can dare more.
ScentXplore would like to honor these heroes, who play a fundamental role in perfumery.
Criteria: New perfumers that have shown outstanding quality within their niche perfume creations in a time-span of at least 5 years.
Fragrance of the Year
Opus XIV Royal Tobacco (Amouage)
Praline In Maple (Scents of Wood)
Haltane (Parfums de Marly)
What is a good fragrance? Evidently, it’s a matter of taste. Or maybe memories. We all know that the sense of smell is the strongest of all and that each individual associates a smell with their own personal memories. The smell of their beloved grandmother, or the fragrance they wore in the midst of a break-up… However, once that first barrier is crossed – the emotional barrier –, perfume wearers take other criteria into account. Although the aesthetics of a bottle and the brand itself play an important role in the selection process, even if unconsciously, performance seems to be nowadays the most important criteria, both in mainstream and niche perfumery.
But niche consumers tend to have a more seasoned nose, enough to take into account the artistry, dynamics and originality of a fragrance. The concoction of notes and accords, sometimes done in an unusual way, and how the composition evolves on the skin are fundamental. Niche consumers are more likely to wait for the heart and base notes to reveal themselves, while mainstream brands have only a few seconds to conquer the consumers’ attention. In any case, like any other category, the choice is yours.
Criteria: All fragrances released by ScentXplore’s participating brands from: January 1st 2022 through November 30th 2022 are eligible.
Eduardo Garcia de Alba
The term blog was first used in 1997, referring to a sort of interactive online journal, generally focused on a particular subject. Roughly at the same time, as a response to the massification of the perfume market, niche perfumery started to boom. In 2000, the Basenotes forum and database were established. In 2001, Céline Verleure launched the first blog focused on perfumery, and named it Osmoz. Fragrantica was founded in 2005. Parfumo in 2008. Meanwhile, perfume historians, former industry employees and aficionados started to create blogs so they could share their knowledge and interact with like-minded people. A few years later, with the YouTube boom, several bloggers became vloggers.
Translating smells into words is quite an endeavor. It not only requires a lot of knowledge, which traditionally has been limited, restricted or even secretive – but also a great ability to describe, contextualize and make fragrances relatable to the general public.
ScentXplore would like to honor our colleagues who create content related to perfumery – writers, bloggers and vloggers – and play an invaluable role in the fragcom.
Criteria: Any content creator is eligible for this award as long as they have at least one written and published book, YouTube channel, Instagram, blog or any platform that has produced consistent and relevant content for at least a 12-month period.
Life Time Achievement – Michael Edwards
Historian and editor Michael Edwards is a global icon in the perfume industry, often referred to as the fragrance expert’s expert. A “walking-encyclopedia”. Through the decades, he has seen the explosion of the industry, that went from 30 new yearly releases to a whooping 3,000 plus per year – making him a true “well of knowledge” and someone we look up to. One of Michael’s many contributions to perfumery is the creation of a common language to facilitate the navigation through the mysterious and extensive universe of fragrances.
In 1983, he took upon the challenge of classifying fragrances and became a pioneer in the field. Michael placed his focus on helping sales assistants understand customers’ preferences, working impartially and independently. The goal was – and still is – to optimize fragrance selection. His famous Fragrance Wheel comprises 14 families. Over the course of four decades, industry professionals also benefited from Michael Edwards’s work and dedication. His Fragrances of the World catalog – in constant update – covers 40,000 fragrances and prevails as the main reference and one of the most useful sources of information for perfumers, executives, specialists and content creators worldwide.
ScentXplore humbly acknowledges Michael Edwards’s contribution to the perfume universe with our Life Achievement Award.
How this is going to work
(Closed on 11/29/22)
One week prior to the event a voting survey will be sent out to all ticket holders, whether attending in person or virtually.
The survey will be open for a 5-day window period. For each category 3 finalists – or 4 in case of a tie – will be selected.
NOTE: Attendees who purchase tickets after Nov 28th won’t be able to vote.
(Closed on 12/03/22)
Attendees will be able to pick 1 among the 3 finalists for each category. An announcement will be made during the event so that attendees vote via a survey. The winners of each category will be announced during the Awards Show Ceremony on Saturday 12/03.
Good Luck to all participating brands and individuals. ScentXplore would like to thank everyone for their participation and support.